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ADVOCATING THE CONSTITUTION, FAITH, AND PRACTICE OF THE
"ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM:"
Before the next number of this Magazine shall have met the public eye, we shall have entered the last year of the first half of the present century. The clock of time will have struck 1850, and the sound will have reverberated throughout Europe and America, and amongst every people and tribe where Christ is known. Solemn memento I what does it say to us? It reminds us of him who is unchangeable in his nature and counsels, and who continues all things as they are at this day; not because he is slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness, but with a view to the salvation of his elect people who are diffused through all time, and concerning whom, it is not his will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It reminds us of the ten thousand agencies that are in operation to secure this glorious issue, and of the extent to which God is pleased to bless them, by the power and demonstration of his Spirit. At the same time, it calls up to our view numbers, -who, under pretence of building up the temple of truth, are mingling therewith the wood, the hay, and the stubble of their own devisings; and advertises us of the swift approach of that day, when every man's work shall be made manifest, for "it shall be tried with fire." It exhorts us to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and to be "steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
We take this occasion to renew the statement before made, respecting the object of our Magazine, and the principles on which it is conducted. Its object is to maintain the authority of Christ, as sole King in Zion, and to keep the ordinances as they have been delivered to us; whilst its range of subjects is as comprehensive as Christianity itself. On no part of our belief and practice as christians, does it profess neutrality. It abjures the principle as a radically unsound one. Neutrality! who has given us leave to be neutral on any point in which truth, the honor of Christ, and the welfare of his church are concerned? Nor is it less prejudicial in operation, than unsound in principle. Under cover of neutrality, the nightshade of error grows apace, whilst truth sickens and dies. We repeat it, then; we abjure neutrality; but speaking the truth in love, we endeavor to give an honest and conscientious testimony on all matters that come before us.
Of our labors during the current year, it is not for us to speak in laudatory terms. In the preface to our last volume, we said that it was "in contemplation to make strenuous efforts to render the 'Primitive Church Magazine' increasingly worthy the support of our brethren in the ministry, and of our churches generally." We also indicated our desire to blend gentleness with uncompromising firmness, in the maintenance of our principles. To what extent our efforts have been successful, we leave to the judgment of our readers. Thus much, however, we will say, that numerous letters have reached us from various quarters, which afford encouraging evidence of the acceptableness and usefulness of our labors, and excite our hopes of yet further progress.
The volume which is now completed will be found to contain a variety of valuable and original pieces. We may refer more particularly to a series of papers on the doctrine, fellowship, ordinances and prayers of the apostolic church,—another series on the doctrine of everlasting punishment completed in the December number—and to several separate articles on the work of Christ, and of the Spirit—on the doctrine of christian duty—the value of the Fathers, as guides of faith, &c.